Disclaimer:   Pete   Wi sdom  d oesn't  belon g  to  me  n or   doe s  his   love  li fe.  They   sadly  bel o ng  to  Mar vel.  N o  money   is  be ing   made.   Don' t  sue,   I'm  br oke.  All   yo u'l l  get  is   40   cents.    

Author's Note: This story contains the song "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain. (which should really be in the disclaimer but alas I'm have been struck with an acute case of lazyness) The song is left justified and " appears in this text type. "

Another, Barkeep

"I'll have another one, barkeep." Pete Wisdom closed his eyes, fiddling with the empty glass in his hands. Where was that damn barkeep anyway? It wasn't like he was across the room and the drink would have to fly into his hands. What was the guy doing? Making the drink from scratch? "C'mon, I'm a bloody customer!" He opened his eyes, staring straight into the barkeeper's.

"Buddy, it's not closing time or anything but don't you think you've had enough?" The barkeeper motioned to the seven previous glasses that stood before Wisdom.

Painfully clasping the eighth in his hand he shook his head donning a perfect poker face. The barkeeper wouldn't have known anything was the matter if he hadn't noticed how hard he was trying to keep the tears from flowing from his blue eyes.

"You know drinking isn't going to make your problems go away."

"Ain't that the bloody truth," Pete put grooved glass back onto the bar, "but it makes them disappear for awhile. Now I'll say it one more bloody time, I'll have another. Do I have ta say please?"

The small bar's ancient radio began to buzz yet again, static blasted from the speakers instead of the music that should have . The barkeep, irritated, walked over to the radio for the fifth time that night, mumbling under his breath about buying a new one or just committing himself, and smacked the fool thing rattling the components inside.

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
Emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky
Never revealing their depth

"This is wot I need right here. " Pete pushed his unbrushed hair out of his face, closing his eyes again. "Damn I miss Kitty."

Tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love

It was almost a laugh, but of course to be laughter there would need to be happiness behind it. "Mate," glancing at the playing radio, "that's my dream too."

I'll be captivated
I'll hang from your lips

"I'll be? I was. Best bloody days of my damn existence."

Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

"Now it's a little too late for that, I'm already swinging."

"She must have been wonderful if her leaving brought you to this." The barkeeper handed him the drink.

Pete glared at the overly friendly barkeep, grabbing the glass rudely from his hands, "Was I talkin' to you?"

"No, it was just...." the barkeep knew when not to push an issue, "Forget it."

"Good." In a single chug there was a new addition to the ever growing collection of empty glasses. "Was the most wonderful person I'm ever goin' to meet." He wasn't really sure if he had actually said it or just lipped the words but he was sure of one thing. "Another, barkeep!"

I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide

"Make that a double."

I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life

"And bring some rum, too!" Quickly, he took out his wallet and sadfully cradled a picture of Kitty in his hands. With one finger he traced the smile he missed so much, trying desperately to make it flesh instead of old paper. Whispering, "I would have been all that to you, luv. All that," he tried to put it away and hide his emotions as the barkeeper returned but all he managed to do was let his hand with the photo drop to his knees and he fought to keep the tears at bay. The song was becoming a little too personal.

Rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed

"Who the hell wrote this anyway?" His eyes fell to the old photo, a single tear finally managed to escape as the memory of the two of them lying awake in his bed flooded his mind. "Damn these bloody lyrics." Quickly, he wiped it away.

You're my survival, you're my living proof
My love is alive not dead

"Well that makes me bloody happy. Snuffed out any chance joy there. Oh wait there wasn't any joy in the first place." The lyric rolled around in his mind, bouncing off his thoughts. His survival, an understatement in the highest regards and now she was gone. "Now let's replay Princess Di's funeral just for good measure... make sure I'm not happy at all."

Tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love

The radio began to lose the single again, making garbling scratching noises, a mix with the actual words.

I'll.... b... yor.... crying shouder...
ll be love suicide....
I'll be betr... wen I'm oldr....
I'll be the gratet fan of yor life....

"Double with rum," the barkeeper placed the three glasses in front of him. He had known the answer already, he had seen this before, but the barkeeper had to ask, "You alright?"

"Just jolly," Pete sarcastically replied, blankly starting at the struggling radio, reaching for one of the glasses.

The barkeeper walked slowly away, shaking his head, "Poor guy."

One glass already gone he began to wonder when he was just going to pass out on the floor drunk. Damn gained resistance to the negative affects of alcohol. "I'm sure she's happier with someone her own age."

I've been dropped out, burned up, fought my way back from the dead

Swirling the next, Pete closed him eyes. This song was to much for him. Silently, he reminded himself from now on only to go to bars that played only Pokka or something like that, not this.

Tuned in, turned on, Remembered the things that you said.

"I love you, Kitty," he said in a near whimper, placing the glass back down to the bar.

I'll be...

Then radio went wild, it sounded as if a cat was being squeezed through an orange juicer. The barkeeper looked up from drying one of the glasses at the lousy metal box. Putting the glass in the sink and the towel over his shoulder he approached the radio and slammed it against the table it sat on, then returned to his drying.

.... greatest fan of your life

"And he was askin' me if I was alright." Pete stared at the barkeep in amazement, just a tad violent of a reaction.

"That was 'I'll Be' by Edwin McCain ," an obnoxious sounding man announced, breathing heavily into the mic he was talking into.

"Yeah," his equally obnoxious sidekick chimed in, "some chick called in requesting it, saying she missed her wisdom or something."

Her wisdom?

A oing-like sound then followed the sidekick's words but Pete was off and running before he could have heard it.

"Hey," cried the barkeeper, putting the money Pete had left in his pocket, "Come back, you can't drive after how much you've drank!"

"I'll hail a cab then, mate. Gotta go." Pete replied without looking back. Maybe it wasn't such a bad song after all.

Back to the Crossroads:

This story has been read times since 15 July 1999.